Friday, August 30, 2013

Five on Friday - Labor Day edition

Hey y'all, linking up again to share 5 random thoughts this Friday. Hope everyone has a great long weekend!

1. I am super excited to head off to Upstate NY this weekend for the wedding of our dear friends! Being that we live so far away from most of our friends and family, these wedding weekends serve double duty as friend time AND a time to celebrate the wonderful couple.

2. I love all the fall inspired posts this past week...but I must be honest, I'm not quite ready for fall! However, when I saw a post on Facebook from Harpoon Brewery (a favorite Boston brewery of mine) about their Pumpkin Cider, I quickly hopped on their site to see where it was sold near me. Well, the closest store was in South Carolina, so off we went in search of a 6-pack. There were two left on the shelf when we got there and I nabbed 'em up. Hopefully this cider will help me get into the fall mood - cuz I LOVE fall!
3. I'm way late to the Capri Blue Volcano candle (the Anthropologie candle) bandwagon, but I'm here!
4. e.l.f. lip exfoliator. I am a chapped/dry lip sufferer. I first read about this product in July, and spent the past 6 weeks trying to find it at Target. They finally had it at my local Target last week and I snatched it up. So far I'm impressed, it's not an instant fix, but with use over the past week I definitely have smoother lips. It smells and tastes good, which is nice because inevitably you'll end up licking you lips at some point.

5. Sadly I had to miss my extended family's annual lake trip to the Finger Lakes in New York last weekend, but I'm super excited that my parents picked up a few bottles of wine from my favorite vineyard, Keuka Spring Vineyard, while they were up there. We actually got all of our wedding wine from Keuka Spring last summer, and I have fun memories of wine tasting with my cousins a few summers ago, so their wine is really special to me! Doesn't hurt that it's actually pretty darn good - their 2012 Riesling just won the NY Governor's Cup!
Keuka Spring 2010...pretending we were there last weekend :)
I'll be back next week, hopefully in the mood for fall! I feel like I hardly had a summer because of all the moving shenanigans. We normally get a little more beach time, but this summer we were up to our ears (literally) in enormous boxes to unpack and a "new normal" to figure out! I just want one last summer weekend.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

From the DIY Kitchen: Veggie Pasta with Feta Cheese

File this one under "eat it while A. is away" - almost everything in this recipe is on his list of inedible foods. This simple, quick pasta dish is great for a night when you really don't want to cook. The broccoli and spinach cook right in the pot with the pasta (you can use any pasta shape you have in the cupboard - I've made it with linguine and rotini, both worked well.)

I generally make enough for myself to have for a dinner and a lunch - so you may have to adjust depending how many people you're feeding. Also, the broccoli is supposed to get a little bit mushy - this way it breaks up and mixes in with the pasta.

Veggie Pasta w/ Feta Cheese
Serves 2

1/4 box linguine
1/2 head of fresh, raw broccoli, chopped into medium-large florets
1- 2 handfuls of frozen, chopped spinach
1/4 cup of crumbled or chopped feta cheese
1 tablespoon butter
Salt & pepper to taste

Boil water in a large pot (use a large pot because if it bubbles over it'll make a horrible mess and everything I said about it being quick and easy will be for naught, you'll be scrubbing chopped spinach off your stove all night!) Salt boiling water and add the pasta, cook according to package directions. With about 7-8 minutes left, add the broccoli florets. With about 2-3 minutes left add handfuls of chopped spinach (this will probably cool the water off so it won't be boiling anymore, just let it come back to a boil - no biggie) When pasta is cooked to your desire, drain and return pasta & veggies to the pot. Add butter, feta, salt & pepper and stir. Break up the larger pieces of broccoli with a spoon.

I've also seen variations of this with Parmesan cheese and other vegetables, it would also probably be delicious with goat cheese.

I was hungry and forgot to take a picture until I put away the leftovers, so it's not a great picture but here you go:

Monday, August 26, 2013

Weekend Ramblings

Our weekend was a great mix of lazy and fun. Friday, A. drove six hours home from Alabama to Charlotte, so a low key night was in order - movie night at home. Saturday we had a lazy morning and then stopped by the Sleepy Poet Antique Mall. We had fun strolling through Sleepy Poet for awhile and checking out all their wares. We left empty handed, but can imagine that once we're in a house we'll be back for some things. There were a bunch of really old bottles and art which I can picture adorning our walls and shelves in the future.

After Sleepy Poet we made our way to the Farmer's Market and picked up some produce for the week (for a whopping total of $3.91 for 4 things!) And then stopped by the greenery shed on the way out. I ended up picking up two gorgeous succulent plants:

Eek! I love them both. The prices at the Farmer's Market greenery shed seriously cannot be beat. The booth we stopped at was selling small succulents for $1 a piece or 4/$5. I went the easier way and bought these two pre-made arrangements for a total of $25. I've seen similar frame arrangements going for $75-100 online and at other shops, so these were a steal. They also had a great selection of Meyer Lemon trees - we had one in Texas that yielded us a few lemons a few years ago, and would love to get another.

Saturday night the weather was amazing - so we sought out a patio for dinner - eating at Ice House in South End, and then coming home and enjoying a bottle of wine on the rooftop terrace at our apartment. The Duke Energy building in Uptown was all lit up in rainbow lights for Charlotte Pride. I love this view from the roof of our building (but that tree on the left needs a little trim!)

Sunday was pretty lazy - we went to lunch, ran some errands, went grocery shopping, and then watched the VMAs. It was all worth it to see A's face during Lady Gaga's performance (and Miley Cyrus, but anyone who was surprised by that hasn't seen her We Can't Stop video - it was pretty much the same level of ridiculousness.)

We've got a busy week leading up to the holiday weekend - and then the wedding of some close friends this weekend to look forward to!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

From the DIY Kitchen: Crab Chowder

This is just one of many variations on a tried and true chowder recipe from my youth. The actual recipe this was modified from will probably make an appearance on the blog in the Fall - it's a corn, bacon & potato chowder perfect for chilly weather. King crab leg clusters were on sale recently and we were having some nasty weekend weather, so I was inspired to whip up this new recipe. We served this for dinner with toast points and a green salad and then for lunch another day. It's super customizable to your preferences, so go ahead and add more veggies, change the veggies, use a different protein, change the seasonings!

Crab Chowder
4-6 Servings (4 BIG bowls - we were hungry!)

2 clusters of snow crab legs, meat removed from shells
½ large onion, chopped
1/2 c. diced celery
½ c. diced carrot
3 raw potatoes, peeled and sliced
4 cups of water
6T. melted butter
6T. flour
4 cups of milk
1 ½ C. sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (Buy it shredded!)
½ to 1 cup frozen corn
½ tsp. (or more) Old Bay Seasoning
1/2 tsp. marjoram
1/2 tsp. salt

Remove crab meat from the shells, keeping the shells mostly intact. Set crab meat aside in a bowl. Heat oil in a large pot. Add onions and carrots, cook until onions are clear. Add potatoes, celery, and water, cook until boiling. Do not drain. Add crab shells and sprinkle old bay seasoning. Let boil with the shells for at least 20 minutes and then remove them.*

In saucepan, blend butter and flour smoothly, then add the milk. Stir over low heat until smooth and thick (this will take about 10-15 minutes to thicken.) Add cheese and stir until melted. Add corn to vegetable mixture, then add the milk/cheese mixture. Heat over low heat to combine mixtures and allow potatoes to get soft - but don't boil! After simmering for about 30 minutes, I left it on very low heat for about 2 hours, but in a pinch you can serve immediately. Salt and pepper (and add more Old Bay Seasoning) to taste.

*When I make this again I'll probably boil the water with the crab shells first and then strain and add to the veggie mix, but since I haven't tried that yet, I'm staying true to my method in writing this up...there were a few stray shell pieces that had to be picked out. No one died.

This was delicious, I'm so glad that the guy at the seafood department gave me a few extra clusters for free - he was about the switch them out cuz they were starting to look a little rough...but he assures me there's nothing wrong with them!

Monday, August 19, 2013

What's for dinner?

We have some fun meals planned for this week:

-Crab Chowder (look for that recipe on the blog later this week)
-Shrimp Tacos w/ creamy Hatch chile sauce (if our local Chuy's isn't going to partake in the Hatch Green Chile Festival, I'll have to do it myself!)
-Gnocchi with homemade Vodka Sauce
-Arroz con Pollo

A few other yummies from the past week or so:
1. Guilt Free Brownies from Trader Joe's - this brownie mix is amazing! All you do is add 2/3 of a cup of fat free vanilla yogurt to the mix and bake for 22-27 minutes. Even my yogurt-hating husband loved them. The list of ingredients isn't even scary! They are pretty sweet, but you could probably go halfsies and do half vanilla and half plain yogurt to cut that down a bit.

2. Who doesn't love pho on a rainy day? On Saturday we broke our "cook all meals this week" goal as we were out running errands in the chilly rain at lunch time and close to Doan's Vietnamese Restaurant on South Blvd. Lots of people had the same idea, the only other time we'd been there it had been pretty quiet, but on this day it was packed! Their pho hit the spot and warmed us up.

3. Over the past several years I've amassed quite the collection of recipes between emails from my parents, Cooking Light, Pinterest, Skinnytaste, and other websites. They've been stored all over the place, in a folder on my desktop, Pinterest boards, but mostly as bookmarks. Around Christmas this year, my old computer quit on me and I lost some of them. Finally I'm getting around to putting together a binder of recipes. I searched high and low on Google to find a recipe binder system I could buy, but nothing was quite right, so I'm trying to do it myself, including designing some cute little recipe card printables. So far it's really cute, I'll share it when it's a little further along.

Friday, August 16, 2013

August 16 Five on Friday

Linking up once again for Five on Friday with April, DarciNatasha, and Christina

1. Chobani Flips

 Found these on sale 10/$10 at Harris Teeter last weekend and couldn't resist picking up one of each flavor. These are so tasty that I went back to H.T. THE NEXT DAY to get more of the key lime and coconut/almond flavors while they were still on sale.

2. Enfusia Let's Get Naked bath soak
Enfusia is a local Houston area company, you could find their products in most of the grocery stores near where we lived. The Let's Get Naked soak is my favorite, but they also have a muscle soak that smells like mint/menthol and clears your sinuses when you open the lid to the bulk jar - so I can only imagine it would feel great if you have sore muscles. They make bath bombs, soaks, body washes, etc, and luckily it can be purchased online, since I haven't seen it sold in Charlotte.

3. I know they're saying that this weekend will be "the nastiest of the summer" with record lows and rain, but these past three days have been amazing! Loving the low humidity and 70s temps. Plus, I'm all about a rainy, lazy weekend every once in a while, especially since we don't have much planned.

4. Pier 1 Citrus Cilantro
I love this scent from Pier 1 - which is weird because I really don't like cilantro or mandarin oranges (two of the four things they specifically list in the description of the scent), but for the past few years I've been using this scent most of the year - the room spray, wax melts, reed diffusers, car scent jars, etc. I really only switch it out in the Fall for pumpkin or apple, and around Christmas for something piney.

5. Cuisinart immersion blender
I was so happy to bring our immersion blender back from Philadelphia when we visited earlier this summer - it has already made itself useful on a number of occasions and I can't wait to use it for some soups as the weather starts to cool off in a few months (or this weekend.) New kitchen toys are always fun, amirite? (Is that a sign that I'm getting old?)

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

From the DIY Kitchen: Carrot Bredie

At my past job in Houston, I coordinated fundraising events for our organization. One of the events I helped coordinate took place at Vintage Park, a shopping center in Northwest Houston. The center started building at a tough time economically, right before the Fall of 2008, so when we started holding the event there, most of the store fronts were empty. There were (and still are) a few restaurants that attracted crowds despite the rest of the center being pretty quiet. My volunteer planning committee held lunch meetings at a different restaurant each month - it was a great way to support the restaurant owners, and a lot of them were really delicious, too! In the three years that I organized the event there, people became more and more aware of the shopping center, in no small part because of a few of the restaurants. One of those is Peli Peli - which is a South African Fusion restaurant. They are pretty pricy at dinner, but their lunch menu is affordable and just as delicious, and they run Groupons fairly often which can be used at dinner. This long-winded introduction is to tell you about one of my favorite dishes there, which is actually a side dish called carrot bredie. It's the consistency of mashed potatoes, but made of carrots, potatoes, leeks or onions, and spices. Naturally, I had to find a way to replicate it after we moved away! I Googled "carrot bredie" and noticed that most of the recipes were on blogs who ALSO enjoyed the side dish at Peli's that good!

I tweaked a few recipes to come up with the one that we like the most - and the spices used could definitely be tweaked to your tastes, so the sky's the limit on this one.

Carrot Bredie
Makes about 2 servings

Olive oil cooking spray
5 carrots (or about 15-20 baby carrots) rough chopped
5 small red potatoes, scrubbed and rough chopped, skin on
1/6 yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic
1 to 1 1/2 cups of chicken broth (some recipes use water but I prefer the flavor of chicken broth)
Basil, Oregano, Marjoram (or other spices you prefer) to taste
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste

Heat large saucepan over medium high heat. Spray olive oil cooking spray and add onions and garlic, cook about a minute, stirring often. Add the chopped carrots, onion, 1 cup of chicken broth, and spices (I usually wait and add salt & pepper last).

Reduce heat to medium and cover, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes or until the carrots and potatoes are soft. (You may have to add up to 1/2 a cup more broth, depending on how much is lost to steam etc.)

When the vegetables are soft, use an immersion blender, or regular blender to mashed the vegetables. Or, if you prefer the potatoes and carrots to be chunkier, use a hand mixer - I've done it both ways and slightly prefer the chunkier preparation, which is the way Peli Peli serves it. Add salt & pepper to taste.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

What Up With That?! Wednesday

Sometimes it's just fun to whine. Whining, like making everything take a lot of effort (ala the Paul Rudd dishes scene in Wet Hot American Summer: can be super satisfying.

- I really wish that Time Warner Cable and Showtime/CBS could come to an agreement. I'm missing Dexter these past few weeks.

- Dear North Carolina, what's up with your ridiculous taxes on out-of-staters who need NC license plates? I already paid taxes on my car where I bought it! Originally the plan was to wait until we got to NC to get me a new car, but sometimes things don't go according to when my car completely locked up and started smoking while driving back in April and the repairs would have cost more than the car was worth? Yeah...

- I sincerely miss the Central Time Zone. When I moved to Texas, I thought it was crazy that prime time television started at 7pm. Admittedly, I watch some shows that aren't meant for adult consumption (Vampire Diaries?) On bad traffic days, sometimes I barely made it home in time! But, there is also the wonderful fact that award shows, sporting events etc all finished an hour earlier, and you could watch them and still get a full night's sleep. I feel like ever since we came back to the Eastern Time Zone, I'm off my game. I find myself staying up later and later and sleeping in later and later. The whole unemployed thing certainly doesn't help me get up and going early.

Okay, I'm off to put away some dishes..ughhh.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Trivia Tuesday

It's always fun to let everyone in on your eccentricities and character flaws, right? Here are a few more trivia facts about me.

- I am HORRIBLE at lyrics. This makes it really hard to Google songs I hear when I'm out and about. For instance, in college I thought that the lyrics to David Gray's "This Year's Love" went "this year's love is Adelaide" instead of "this year's love had better last." It kind of became a thing with a few of my friends, this was the stuff of AIM away messages (HAHA WHAT?) and Facebook statuses. Well, then my best friend from home studied abroad in Adelaide, Australia, and was all excited about this song...and it turned out I was (obviously) wrong all along. Go listen to the first 30 seconds and see if you can hear it, too:

- I can't stand to look at my toes without polish...I haven't had naked, unpolished toes out in public in years. For the past ~5 years I've been using the same color of dark purple Sally Hansen almost exclusively. I'll try other colors and usually end up taking it off and repolishing them in purple within a day or two. I used to have a pink color I used in the summer but it was discontinued and I have yet to find a good stand in.

- There are small things that drive me nuts - for instance the cabinet knobs in our apartment are rectangular, and it drives me bananas when they aren't perfectly straight. We've already decided that in no future house of ours can we have square/rectangular knobs.

- I don't wear yellow. I'm not sure I've ever owned anything yellow. Take that back, I think I had a yellow turtleneck (is that dating myself?) in elementary school that was almost never worn. It totally washes me out.

- I went to summer camp on a farm for 4 years and learned all the farm chores. My favorite chore was morning cows - we learned to milk the cows and bottle feed the babies. I was super shy before I went to camp, and I think I have that experience to thank for becoming much more outgoing and comfortable in situations where I don't know anyone. The camp was really primitive, we swam in a pond, there was no electricity in the bunks, and we took over night trips to a teepee in the woods with an outhouse and no while most people I knew were off at fancy camps with all kinds of activities, I was chopping firewood, stargazing in a field, driving a tractor, and dodging cowpies.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Weekend Wrap Up

Monday again?! This summer is flying by!

Thinking back on this weekend, we ate at restaurants almost every meal. This definitely wasn't our intention, so we'll definitely be making up for that throughout the rest of the week.

Friday I became a real resident of North Carolina - my license finally came in the mail! Finally putting down some roots in NC and making it official. For lunch we baked an Italian Cold Cut pizza from Pasta & Provisions. Yum! The pizza crust is pretty thin, and they don't use much sauce, because the stars of the show are the thinly sliced Italian meats - including prosciutto, sopressata, salami & pepperoni. For dinner we headed to Food Truck Friday again because there was a new truck we wanted to try - Maryland Crab Co. I was disappointed that they didn't actually have steamed crabs that night, but their shrimp po boy was pretty good, as was the arroz con pollo at another truck. We left early and came back home and watched movies.

Saturday was more househunting and then lunch at Cowfish. We ended up on their patio, which was hot but bearable. This weekend was way muggy in Charlotte. Saturday night I went to Ice House in South End for a Meet Up event. They have a great, big patio and I met a bunch of nice ladies who are also new in town.

Sunday we slept in til 9:30 (whoa that never happens!) and then headed over to try the Sunday Brunch at Upstream. For Christmas, A's cousin Googled and found a restaurant in Charlotte and got us a gift card for any of the Harper's Restaurants - Mimosa Grille, Harper's, or Upstream. That was a great present because it was about 6 months before we ended up moving. I'd heard good things about the Upstream brunch - so off we went. They have an awesome selection of buffet items - a made to order omelet station, carving station, delicious shrimp & grits, fish dishes, mac & cheese and other sides, sushi, clams, mussels, oysters, peel & eat shrimp, cold cuts, cheese, fruit, dessert table, it goes on and on. But they've also got an awesome list of breakfast tapas which you can order to your hearts content at no additional charge. From the tapas menu we ordered the Belgian waffle, banana bread french toast, egg Benedict over a fish cake, steak and egg - they were all delicious (and small, no, we did not eat multiple entire waffles etc.) I also got a Bloody Mary, which wasn't the best but hit the spot. It really was a great brunch and I'm sure we'll be back.

Mid-afternoon we got a call from A's aunt & uncle, who were in Wilmington, NC and driving to Winston-Salem, asking if we wanted to have dinner. So, we met them up in Concord and got BBQ and chatted for awhile. Then we came home and watched Newsroom & True Blood (I can hardly handle that show anymore, I cringe in embarrassment several times each episode.)

Needless to say, I'll be making a stop at the grocery store today (we didn't even make it to the store this weekend, that's how busy we were eating!) and getting a lot of produce for some serious salads this week.

This week we'll be eating:
-Jerk Pork Tenderloin with Cabbage Mango Slaw
-Bruschetta Chicken & Salad
-Chicken Marsala & Veggies

Friday, August 9, 2013

August 9th Five on Friday

Happy Friday Y'all! Linking up to share this week's Five on Friday. Here are 5 things I'm loving this week:

1. This Tumblr dedicated to working at a non-profit -
The printer "survive" one is spot on - we had a printer/copier at my old job that should have been pronounced dead long before I started working there. It finally quit working and was replaced (after meetings about what capabilities we wanted a new printer/copier to have) a few months before we moved. Hope the new staff appreciates that thing!

2. Friends in town
Yesterday afternoon, 2 friends from college (J. went to school with me, and M. is her best friend from home who became a friend by default) came through Charlotte on their cross country road trip. They left San Diego last weekend and are driving to Massachusetts - M. has been living in California for the past few years and is moving back to Massachusetts for grad school. We didn't do anything crazy because they were exhausted from being on the road for almost a week and had a dog in tow, but we did have a delicious dinner at Mac's and watched too much Shark Week.

3. Outdoor Adventures(?)
Really hoping that the weather cooperates this weekend because there's lots of fun stuff to do outside - tonight there's either SkyFall in South End or The Croods at Symphony Park (I've mentioned in an earlier post that A. and I have an unhealthy love of movies like Shrek, Cars etc, and I've professed my love for outdoor movies after watching Jaws onboard the USS Intrepid in NYC in June) and tomorrow is Beast Feast at the USNWC.

4. So Delicious Coconut Milk Coffee Creamer
For a long time I enjoyed my morning coffee with fat free half & half. About 6 months ago I switched over to regular milk because the ingredient list for the half & half was long and alarming. A few weeks ago I tried So Delicious Coconut Milk Creamer, and really enjoy it. They come in a few flavors, but so far the Harris Teeter near me only carries Original and French Vanilla. The French Vanilla has a few grams of sugar in it, so I've been using that one  because then I don't need to add any extra sugar to my coffee. I'd like to track down the Hazelnut flavor, that's my favorite coffee flavor!

5. FillASeat
I'm actually not sure if I love this yet because we haven't been members for long, but awhile back Groupon had a discounted membership to FillASeat Charlotte. The idea is that when shows/concerts/plays haven't sold out, they provide tickets to FillASeat for their members which you reserve online and then pick up at will call the day of the show. It just came to Charlotte from Vegas and 17 other cities. They're very secretive about the whole thing though, so I'm not sure yet what sorts of events we have to look forward to...I read some not so glowing reviews in other cities where it ended up being mostly comedy shows, but it was only $20 for the year for both of us, so even if we go to just a few comedy shows, it will have paid for itself. We'll see...sort of feels like a secret society. Possibly a society of morons who fell for it, but I'm keeping an open mind.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Weird Facts Wednesday

Below are some weird facts about me!

- With about 90% (in)accuracy I will put restaurant leftovers in the wrong side of the takeout container. Sometimes it even happens when I check first.

- I (almost) never brush my hair. In fact, I'm terrible at hair, I have about four "styles" in my repertoire for my almost shoulder length hair - low ponytail, high ponytail, blow-dried and straightened, and air-dried. When it's a little bit longer I can manage a few other things, but it's a sad state of affairs for my poor hair. There's a ton of it, but the individual hairs are very fine/sleek, so it's hard to get it to stay in many styles.  Every once in a while when I'm in a rush I'll use my Goody QuikStyle brush to speed up the drying process - I got it free last winter from an Influenster VoxBox, and it definitely does get my hair dry quicker - it has microfiber between the bristles.

- I hate orange juice and anything orange flavored. I don't mind actual oranges, though.

- My very first solid food, yes even before baby cereal, was a pickle. My mom brought me to a conference/workshop and when I got fussy she gave me a pickle to suck on. My love of all things salty continues to this day.

- My husband jokes that I'm either not fully evolved or I'm too evolved - I was diagnosed with scoliosis in 7th grade and the x-rays they took showed I had an extra vertebrae and an extra set of ribs...what?!

- For a few years I tried my hardest to have my own patio/balcony farm. I called it quits after I got a tomato that looked like this:
Yes, it had edges. Yes, they were sharp.
So for now I'm content letting the real farmers grow my produce...but I am really tempted to sign up for a CSA - probably a meat CSA. Charlotte has so many farmers markets that I feel like I can find good, affordable produce practically anywhere.

That's enough trivia for now - a girl can't tell all of her secrets at once!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Weekend Wrap Up & Menu

On Friday we finally made it to Food Truck Friday in South End. We arrived early and still had to circle the block to find parking. We ordered 3 tacos from Tin Kitchen (Thai Coconut Curry Shrimp, Brisket, and Pork Belly) and split a Pig Mac grilled cheese from Papi Queso - who can resist a perfectly grilled cheese with pulled pork, caramelized onions, and mac & cheese?! Not this girl. The grilled cheese was definitely the highlight of the night.
Good, but they should double up the tortillas.

I used up my pint of blueberries by making scrumptious blueberry crisp. I am not ashamed to say that I ate it for dessert on Friday AND breakfast on Saturday (at least I left the ice cream off on Saturday morning.) After that we watched a few episodes of Breaking Bad Season 5 which just came out on Netflix Instant Play. We didn't start watching the show until late last summer, so we have been waiting to catch up on the first half of the final season ever since. I made myself a delicious Bloody Mary with pepper infused vodka and McClure's Bloody Mary Mix (which tastes mostly like pickle juice - yum) that my friend Jordo gave me. I think Bloody Mary's are an acceptable drink for any time of day, not just brunch.
Evidence of my shame...gobbled down half right out of the oven.

Saturday we lazed around in the morning and then headed to the mall so I could return some items that I'd ordered online and didn't work out. The mall was a zoo because of tax free weekend so we didn't stay long. Saturday night we watched the end of Breaking Bad.

Sunday we ran errands and did some house hunting then some cleaning in anticipation of some friends who will be staying with us later this week as part of a cross country road trip.

What we're eating this week
1. Moroccan Chicken from here. I was slightly concerned when I made this the first time, it uses a lot of spices, and I wasn't sure it would be a hit with A., but it passed the test.
2. Actually Delicious Turkey Burgers - they really are actually delicious. Some turkey burgers are dry and blah, these are the opposite. They can also be tweaked with any additional ingredients you'd like to include - grated zucchini, bbq, etc. I usually use a whole egg and grate my onion instead of dice. My mouth is watering as I write this, thinking about these burgers topped with pickle and thick slices of farmer's market tomato.
3. One Pot Pasta (my parents have re-named this Potsta). I add some frozen bagged spinach to the mix. This is another one that could be tweaked - can't wait to experiment with different ingredients. The starch thickens the cooking liquid into a delicious, almost velvety sauce.
4. Eggplant Pesto Panini - I love Skinnytaste! We have a bunch of Gina's recipes on regular rotation. Favorites include her zucchini sticks, Sicilian Rice Ball Casserole, and Quinoa & Spinach patties. These sandwiches are from a recent post of hers, and we enjoyed them for lunch over the weekend and will have them again later this week. They just taste like summer!

Friday, August 2, 2013

August 2 Five on Friday

Sorry I'm a little late to the Five on Friday link up game this be honest I was having trouble coming up with 5 things I'm loving this Friday. But, I've now banished my inner Debbie Downer to the corner!


If you've read any of my posts you'll see that I am a newbie to Charlotte, and that I'm currently job-hunting. Those two things together (or separately) can be really isolating. So, earlier this week I joined, found some groups for fellow "new in town" women and RSVPed for a bunch of upcoming events. On Wednesday night I went bowling. It was really nice to walk into a room of people who don't know each other, are looking for girlfriends and get lost driving around on a daily basis. The whole "making friends as an adult" thing is another post for another day, but I'm hoping that attending the occasional Meetup will make me feel like less of  a hermit! Oh, and I bowled very poorly, pretty sure I had one of the lowest (if not THE lowest) score out of 20-25 people.

2. Staying put
We're been on the go a whole lot recently. One week after we moved into our apartment in June, we packed up and were away for two weeks. Then we were back for a week and then entertained my parents in Charlotte for several days. The very next week we flew to Boston to attend a wedding. Needless to say, it's going to be nice to spend the next several weeks in one place!

3. Shockingly quick shipping
Earlier this week, NY&CO was having a crazy good online sale, everything was buy one get one 50% off (jeans were buy one get one 75% off!), plus $100 off a $200 order AND free shipping! All that was well and good, but the most exciting part was when I checked my email and got the shipping confirmation which said it would all arrive on my doorstep THE NEXT DAY! They ship from Greensboro, so it took no time at all to come. See, told you it's the little things this week that lead to excitement.

4. Blueberry something.
Got a pint of blueberries at the farmer's market that are just begging to be turned into something scrumptious. I'm thinking blueberry crisp, or something with a crumbly top...sounds like a really perfect breakfast to me. Does anyone else eat fruit desserts for breakfast?? Just me?

5. Harris Teeter Fresh Foods Market Pita Pockets
These pita breads from Harris Teeter are delicious! They don't remind me of any other pita pocket I've ever had because they're actually horrible if you want a pocket, they don't separate evenly. But, slice 'em in half and toast 'em and they make the perfect sandwich. We toasted them and served with salad and somehow after a minute in the toaster they almost tasted a little buttery. Even better is that you can often get them for $1 off. They've become a staple in our house.